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ASUU Strike: NANS Vows to ‘Frustrate’ APC, PDP National Conventions

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The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has advised the two biggest political parties – the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – to discontinue with plans for their national conventions to select their respective presidential candidates in Abuja this month.

 

 

This is just as Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has pleaded with ASUU to embrace dialogue as a means of resolving the lingering dispute between it and the federal government.

 

NAN specifically vowed to “frustrate all the activities leading to the selection of party candidates if we remain on strike.”

 

The students’ body warned the two political parties to either ensure that the industrial action was called off or forget about holding their presidential primaries in Abuja.

 

In a statement titled, “End ASUU Strike or Forget Political Activities in Abuja,” signed by its President, Sunday Asefon, the association said: “Politicians have shown no concern to the plight of the students but are only busy in their selfish and inordinate ambitions to become the next president.

 

“Let me say without mincing words, the two major political parties should forget any political gathering in Abuja or elsewhere except there is a solution to the lingering ASUU strike.

 

“We will frustrate all the activities leading to the selection of party candidates if we remain on strike.”

 

“We also want to advise the government and the politicians who are busy campaigning to be president to either resolve the ASUU crises or give direct orders to the security operatives to shoot us at the site during party conventions to select a presidential candidate. If we remain on strike, they should just forget it.”

 

NANS also expressed displeasure over what they called the abandonment of negotiations with ASUU by the Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige and the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, for presidential ambition.

 

Ngige and Nwajiube recently purchased APC Nomination and Expression of lnterest forms at a whopping cost of N100 million each.

 

“We have also in the past weeks seen those saddled with great responsibility in the education sector and those saddled with responsibilities of resolving labour crises declaring interest to contest for the seat of the President come 2023.

 

“We are surprised by their effrontery and total disrespect to the Nigerian people for having the courage to even mute the idea of contesting talkless of picking up the N100 million presidential forms while students languish at home because of their collective failures,” NANS added.

 

Osinbajo Urges Dialogue to End ASUU Strike

 

Meanwhile, Osinbajo has pleaded with ASUU to embrace dialogue as a means of resolving the lingering dispute between it and the federal government.

 

He also urged the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to help facilitate a resolution of the dispute with the University workers through dialogue.

 

Osinbajo’s appeal came just as the organised labour lamented the rising inflation, insecurity and total shut down of federal government owned universities in the country.

 

Speaking at the May Day celebration yesterday, held at the Eagles Square arena in Abuja, Osinbajo told the workers to always pursue the path of dialogue in resolving differences.

 

“We both want the same thing – a country that works for all and offers each citizen a fair deal – even if occasionally we differ on how to achieve this goal. But at all times, we have through dialogue found a path forward.

 

“It in this spirit that I call on ASUU to embrace dialogue with the government and I call on the NLC and the TUC to help facilitate a resolution of this dispute through dialogue. I believe that we can find a path forward in good faith. And this is what we will do,” has said.

 

On the welfare of workers, Osinbajo said regardless of the challenges of low revenue, COVID-19 and others global economic stress, the administration has been steadfast in tackling the issues facing Nigerian workers.

 

He said the president had implemented an increase in the national minimum wage in 2019.

 

The vice president also said the federal government recently increased the retirement age of teachers so that they can spend more years in service educating our children.

 

In addition, Osinbajo said the government had implemented an upward review of the salaries and wages of the men and women of the Nigeria Police Force, “as part of our broader commitment to improving the welfare and service conditions of those charged with safeguarding our lives.”

 

In his May Day address to workers, Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige pleaded with Nigerian workers to exercise some restraint in embarking on strike.

 

Ngige said both employers and employees are important stakeholders in the economy of any country, hence the need to work harmoniously to build a strong economy.

 

He said trade unions must desist from dictating to the government on how to run its business just like the government would refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of Trade Unions.

 

“In the quest for good governance, Trade Unions must desist from dictating to the government on how to run its business just like the government would refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of Trade Unions.

 

“Experience has shown that in the past there had been occasions of government incursion, but for this Administration, we have tried as much as possible to refrain from this act but sadly some Trade Unions/Associations have found this a very attractive trait to prove to their members that the leadership is tough,” he said.

 

However, organised labour under the auspices of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), while commenting on the lingering ASUU strike, said they had already issued an ultimatum to government to resolve the national embarrassment, adding that if at the end the 21-day ultimatum, nothing positive happened, the federal government would have to contend with the entire Nigerian workers.

 

They warned that the labour movement was fully mobilised to resist what they described as social apartheid that keeps the children of the poor at home while the children of the rich are in private schools and abroad studying.

 

They deplored the rising inflation rate in the country which they said has hit 15.7 percent this month.

 

They expressed grave concern that the high inflation may have been largely driven by fuel shortages and its effects on costs transportation, commodities and services.

 

In a joint welcome address by both the TUC president, Quadri Olaleye and NLC president Ayuba Wabba delivered at the May Day celebration, the labour movement also bemoaned the level of insecurity and continued shut down of the nation’s public owned universities due to the dispute with the lecturers and other workers.

 

Labour identified poor governance as the major causes of unemployment, poverty and insecurity in Nigeria which has worsened in recent times.

 

In the same vein, organised labour expressed concern over an upsurge in industrial crises in the country’s health sector.

 

Speaking on the rising insecurity in the country, organised said it was disheartening that despite the funds invested in national security especially in the fight against terrorism, it appears the terrorists are getting bolder by the day.

 

ASUU: Nigerian Workers Suffer, Bear Burden of Corruption

 

Also, ASUU yesterday charged Nigerian workers to rise and resist a system which has consistently exposed them to suffering under the burden of current political and financial corruption of the ruling class.

 

This is just as the union also asked President Muhammadu Buhari, to toe the path of honour and sign the already renegotiated agreements which would improve the working conditions and make the universities in the country look like a real knowledge ecosystem.

 

ASUU in a May Day release issued yesterday, the Chairman, University of Ibadan chapter, Prof. Ayo Akinwole, entitled: “For still surviving in a country that lacks workers’ friendly government; Nigerian workers deserve a salute”, called on Nigerians to decide to elect in 2023, saying, “a leader who can protect them and not to elect someone on the basis of zoning or regional presidency but rather focus on competence of the person who is capable to rid the land of injustices.”

 

While describing the government of Buhari as unfriendly to workers, he asked the Nigerian workers to resist being used to terrorise themselves through the adoption of divide and rule by the government.

 

Akinwole noted that Nigeria, “is a fiefdom of competing warlords, assemblage of official certified terrorists, carnivals of jesters and bands of thieves dressed in costumes and bemusing titular inanities.”

 

According to the ASUU boss, traditional rulers in Nigeria look away while their people suffer while religious leaders have become, “chattered prophets, prayer contractors, ministers of their own bellies and priests of violence.”

 

He lashed out at the Buhari administration, “whose anti-workers’ policy,” he claimed has “made Nigerian workers poorer. There is increasing rise in prices of commodities and services.”

 

He said, “This administration has failed Nigerians in the following ways: Non implementation of minimum wage policy of the government by all the states; Inappropriate payment platform of salary which denies workers the opportunity to plan for the future; embargo on employment in Federal Universities has turned workers to slaves; workers have become hopeless because there is no succession plan;

 

“High level of insecurity has negatively affected safety of life and properties; political instability in Nigeria – more than ever before this government polarised the country along religion and ethnicity; citizenship in the Nigerian state has been compromised due to wrong attitude of government that does not see the need to promote integration;

 

“The current administration lacks the capacity to unite the country and provide needed forum for the future; and our youths have become negatively aggressive and have given in to moral lapses.”

 

The ASUU chairman then saluted the courage of Nigerian workers to dare the odds and survive under the precarious conditions under this administration saying, “on this day, we observe moments of silence for the Nigerian people and workers who have been victims of terrorism and brutality of the ruling administration.”

 

“We stand still for women and girls who are victims of rape and sexual enslavement. Today, we remember the thousands of Nigerians who have been buried in mass and unmarked graves, with no opportunity by family and loved ones to bid them farewell; we share the grief of parents who are in mourning over their dead and missing children.

 

“It is sad to note that in the face of the enduring grief and hopelessness of Nigerians, the political class is in a frenzy of political carnivals. God shall indeed judge the wicked,”, he added

 

Ex-OAU Registrar Blames ASUU’s Strike on Proliferation of Public Varsities

 

Also, a foremost educationist and former Registrar, Obafemi Awolowo University(OAU), Ile Ife, Chief Alex Olu Ajayi, has blamed the ongoing nationwide strike embarked on by ASUU on the federal government’s insincerity and its low interest in education of Nigerians.

 

Ajayi, also ex-Registrar of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), urged Nigerians to rather blame the FG for not honouring its agreements with ASUU and for embarking on indiscriminate establishment of universities that the government is financial incapacitated to fund.

 

Ajayi spoke in Ado Ekiti, yesterday, while being conferred with the ‘Fellowship Award’ by All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPPSS) Veterans , Ekiti chapter, led by its Chairman, Sir Lawrence Eegunjobi, to mark Ajayi’s 91st birthday.

 

Describing the closure of all Nigerian public universities as disheartening and portraying the FG as being insensitive, Ajayi said: “The federal government is to blame. It has allowed enthusiasm of establishing universities supersedes the reality of funding and what it can cope with. It has bitten more than it can chew.

 

“The federal government must understand that with proliferation of universities, there will be inadequacies, particularly funding. Anytime there is expansion, there is always deterioration if care is not taken and that is what we are experiencing in our universities.

 

“ASUU had made its points, but it should sheath its sword and listen to Nigerians and call off hoping that they will fight another day.”

Culled from THISDAY

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